A Running Great Passes: Mike Turner (1939-2017)

13th January 2017

We are sad to report that Mike Turner, president of the Hare & Hounds from 1976-2006, passed away peacefully in the early hours of Saturday morning. Hailed as ‘one of the greats of Cambridge running’ by current club president Joan Lasenby, Mike’s legacy also entails excellence as an international athlete and major involvement in British Athletics.

His involvement with the Hare & Hounds as an undergraduate student saw him join an array of notable athletes to dominate the Varsity Match in the late 1950s and early 60s. Running alongside the great Herb Elliott (then the 1500m and Mile world record holder), and others who were to gain international recognition such as Tim Johnson, Tim Briault, Martin Heath and Bruce Tulloh, Cambridge dominated the match against Oxford with five consecutive wins between 1959 to 1963. Within this golden era for the club, Mike stood out with two individual Varsity Cross Country victories in 1961 and 1962. He went on to gain international recognition throughout his twenties that saw him captain England in the 1969 International Cross Country Championships in Clydebank, Scotland. It is a testament to his ability as an elite athlete that Ron Hill, European and Commonwealth Marathon Gold Medallist, described his greatest achievement as just beating Mike in the 1966 National Cross Country in one of the most exciting sprint finishes the event has seen. Mike’s personal bests (13:52 for 5000m and 28:33 for 10,000m) speak for themselves.

In spite of such brilliance, Mike was first and foremost an academic. He gained a PhD and was a fellow at Peterhouse from 1989-2006. His recognition as an athlete never faded with age as he went on to achieve the British record for 5000m in the veteran (‘Masters’) age category in June 1979 before winning the national titles a month later in the Master’s 1500m and 5000m. Alongside his career as a lecturer, he supported British Athletics as a team manager with the 1988 Seoul Olympic team and writing the ‘Turner Report’, defining the way British Athletics should be organised. His enthusiasm for running and the outdoors spanned his whole lifetime as he continued to run marathons beyond the age of 65 and later enjoyed walking early each morning.

Our thoughts and condolences are with his family and friends at this time.

CUHH hit the (new) ground running at Cuppers

7th November 2016

The 2016 edition of CUHH Cuppers was the first since the move from former home of Wandulbury, however what resulted was nothing short of a success. Two excellent races showed that CUHH are well prepared for any task, administrative or running.

Organisational Queen Lizzy Apsley (Pembroke) both organised and emerged victor in the Women's race. She was closely followed home by reigning Varsity champion Emily Ruane (Magdalene) in a race with some serious depth. Disappointingly for our intrepid College League organiser her victory was not sufficient to win Pembroke the team title, as they were bested by a strong Corpus side with Becca Frake (3rd), Kate Curran (4th) and Felicity Williamson-Sarll (13th) meaning they absence of a four Corpus athlete didn't cost them.

The Men's race got off to a slightly tepid start before David Wilson (Jesus) decided he had other important things to get done that day and begun to set a strong pace. The field strung out quickly, with the excellent uphill-downhill dogleg allowing a good sighting up of those to chase/run away from. Despite opening up a gap it wasn't enough to hold off a fast finishing Phillip Crout (St.Catharine's), who took his first collegiate race title at the 7th attempt. There were some familiar faces down the order as club Captain Paddy Roddy (Robinson) came in for third having snuck past reclaimed Cambridge athlete Will Ryle-Hodges (Magdalene). As a consolation for his bravery David Wilson can look forward to lifting the Men's team Cuppers trophy at Annual Dinner as his Jesus side emerged (reasonably) comfortable winners with supporting runs from James Coxon, Paul Pruzina and David Pattinson.

Without resorting to cliche perhaps the real winners of the day was the club. Good weather and facilities, coupled with high turn out and a strength in depth suggest CUHH are well prepared for the coming weeks. The next stop for the club is the Metropolitan League meeting in Stevenage, where our rosy cheeks will do battle with the hardened adults of Hertfordshire and London.


8th February 2016

For members of Cambridge University Hare & Hounds, the transition from Varsity at the end of Michaelmas to BUCS at the start of Lent is a strange one. Race-sizes swell from the mid-teens to three hundred odd; vests are no longer white or blue, but a myriad of pinks, purples, oranges and greens; the steely dark-blue-crushing mentality that typifies Varsity matches dissolves into what is more formally termed a ‘banter race’.

But that’s not to say there’s nothing to run for. The men’s A team—having been narrowly squeezed out of the medals in Brighton last year—wanted revenge. The women, despite missing several of their big-game runners, had a winning Varsity record to defend (spoiler: they smashed it). In the men’s B race, there were rivals to beat, elbows to avoid, and nosebleeds not to be had (Francis). Above all, I think, BUCS is about reminding yourself how much fun a proper cross-country race really is.

11:30am, Saturday 6th February. The rain lashed down on a wind-swept, litter-strewn bog in Gloucester. The queue for port-a-loos stretched back into oblivion, and Ed Gazeley’s chat was already starting to grate. Needless to say, levels of fun were on the low side.

Not to be dispirited, the men’s A team began their pre-race preparations. Paddy Roddy, scout leader that he is, got lost on his warm-up, and was tasked with a brisk sprint to the start-line. Many (myself included) were queueing for the toilet as he claxon sounded, missing the sight of several hundred runners hounding their way to a treacherously narrow U-bend.

The course, although flat, was relentlessly muddy, and included a knee-deep pool of water to wade through and several tight turns to negotiate. The men’s A team performed extremely well on a demanding 10km course. Kelvin Gomez lead the sestet home in 17th place (his highest finish ever at BUCS cross-country), closely followed by Ollie Fox in 23rd—a remarkable achievement for a first year. Phil Crout achieved his top 40 goal (coming 40th), and Paddy Roddy turned the screw on a certain Oxfordian in the closing stages, finishing in 54th. George Gathercole, another fresher on his BUCS debut, ran well to finish 86th. Josh Carr—who self-identifies as one of life’s winners—pulled out short of the line, overcome by mud-less visions of America. They finished 6th overall, an incredibly impressive feat when considering the running prowess of some of the UK’s other university teams.

The women’s race was the largest of the day, with just over 500 runners taking on the 6km course. Emily Ruane backed up her Blues Match victory with a strong 42nd place finish. She was followed by first year Lizzy Apsley (47th), who has running well all season. Completing the scoring team was Ruby Woolfe (93rd), who appears to be in great shape for the London Marathon in April. The team placed 10th overall; beating Oxford has become something of a formality.

The men’s B competition, traditionally dominated by under-worked and over-trained athletes from St. Mary’s, was the last on the agenda, leaving a thoroughly churned-up course for those left to race. Fresher MacGregor Cox, powered by Soreen, dipped inside the top 20. He was followed by good packing from Eliot Nevill (47th), David Buglass (56th), and Petros Giannaros (59th), who completed the scoring team.

Having braved treacherous conditions, jostled round narrow bends, and dragged their way through ponds of water, I’m sure everyone will agree that BUCS was certainly a rewarding experience. The strong showings from first year students suggest that CUHH are to have many prosperous years ahead of them. Thanks are due to Emma Elston for organising a great weekend away.

Onwards to Nationals, and yet more mud!

Cuppers Race Report

19th November 2015

Saturday November 14th saw the most important race of the CUH&H season thus far. Cuppers is not only a hotly contested affair in its own right—a chance to get your college’s hand on some silverware—but the final race before Varsity. With team spots up for grabs, it’s all to play for.

A horrendous forecast for Saturday lead to a late decision to move the men’s race forward an hour. This turned out to be a stroke of logistical genius given the amount of rain that was lashing down at 2:30 when the men’s race was originally due to start.

Josh Carr and Ollie Fox shared the spoils, running hand-in-hand across the finishing line in a time of 32:02 over 9.7k. The Captain, however, was aggrieved to find himself placed second in the final standings. Phil Crout (32:31) ran strongly to finish third, and impressive runs from Kelvin Gomez, MacGreggor Cox, Billy Pinder and Paddy Roddy (after an impressive return from injury) saw them earn Blues selection. They will be joined at Wimbledon Common by Fresher George Gathercole. In the battle for second team places, there were particularly impressive runs from Joe Bowness (another injury returnee) and Henry McTernan, flying a solo flag for Christ’s.

Robinson were runaway winners in the college competition, revealing their strength and depth by placing 1st, 6th, 10th, 17th and 19th. They were followed by Jesus and Sidney in second and third places respectively

The women followed, completing 6k over two laps of Wandlebury. Katy Hedgethorne was a clear victor with a highly impressive time of 22:16, over three minutes faster than she ran in her first year. She was followed by two Pembroke Freshers—Ella Hughes (22:56) and Lizzie Apsley (23:14). All three cemented their Blues places, alongside Emily Ruane, Alison Greggor, Sarah Lovewell and Liz Mooney. Carrie Beadle, Chloë Beckett and Kate Curran all ran well to secure second team places.

In the college competition, Pembroke, having claimed second and third places, were in first place, followed by Homerton and Christ’s.

All in all, two very promising races suggest that the Hare and Hounds will be in excellent shape for the seven Varsity races taking place in the coming weeks.

Racing season gets underway

16th October 2015

Fresher’s Fun Run. The chance to pan round a fast, flat course, blissfully unaware the cross-country season is fast approaching. The men pretend they’ve run a really fast 5k time (it’s actually 4.85k, but never mind) and the women can test their beginning-of-season speed over 2.7k, both courses taking in the delights of the West Cambridge site. Sizeable turnouts in both races saw 145 faces compete: some old hands, and some experiencing their first ever competitive running event. Fresher’s Fun Run being the most forgiving race of the term, it creates a great opportunity for CUH&H first-timers to become bedded into the club.

The women’s race was missing several of the club’s strongest runners at the front end, but this posed—as the name suggests—the opportunity for incoming Freshers to show what they’re made of. Third year Trinitarian Sarah Lovewell was first home in a time of 8:53, ten seconds ahead of Pembroke first year Elizabeth Apsley who showed real promised for the season to come. Last year’s college league champion, Liz Mooney, came in third, clocking a time of 9:09.

The men’s race was perhaps billed to be a tastier affair with some of the club’s big-name runners competing against several Freshers who have showed plenty of promise in the first few weeks of term. In one of the quickest races in recent memory, club captain Josh Carr (Sidney Sussex) took the honours of first place (14:24), ahead of St. Catherine’s third year Phil Crout (14:34). As with the women’s race, yet another Fresher managed to muscle their way into the top three as Oliver Fox from Robinson—having attracted a lot of attention for the form he displayed on training camp—finished in 14:42.

The race was also the first of the four CUH&H college league races that take place throughout the year. But there were few shocks here, as last year’s title holders came out on top in both the men’s and women’s competitions. Homerton fought off close competition from Trinity (134) to score 139 points, while Robinson—bolstered by a good Fresher intake and a strong run from Ollie Garner—were almost 100 points clear of their nearest competition, Jesus (217), racking up a collective effort of 309 points.

Next up is the Fen Ditton Dash, where the prospect of finally racing on muddy ground looms ever closer.

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